From the afterword to Heartwood by Rosalia Cavalcante

I always knew that writing a book would change me in a way. All my life, I’ve believed in the transformative properties of literature and there are novels which meant a great deal to me when I was young. The ones that meant the most to me were the novels of a certain Stefano Como, whose books have entertained me greatly in my formative years. They’ve followed me for most of my life.

When I started writing Heartwood, I only had plans to further my career and saw the opportunity to talk to the son of my favourite writer as a good challenge. My initial interview with Teo was a disaster. He was grouchy and touchy and lied without rhyme or reason—thus, our first interview ended in hurled insults and me walking out in anger. Having read the biography, you already know about these proclivities of Teo’s and you know that there are good reasons for everything.

You also know that I went back, because otherwise you wouldn’t be holding this book in your hands, but I did go back and I wrote the book and it changed me. I just never could have imagined how.



This is where I admit that I am not an unbiased biographer. During the course of writing the biography, I came to admire my subject and it wasn’t an entirely professional sort of admiration.

Teo is a creative, practical, and gentle man, a sweet man, so fearful of his own temper that he ended up hiding away and here I am, exposing all of his secrets to the world. I hope that the readers have read my words as intended—they’re not an exposé or a hit piece, but an account of the man as I see him, or rather, how I’ve come to see him.

As already explained, my views on him weren’t so charitable after our first meeting, but once we started again and got to know each other, my opinion gradually changed. I came to admire him for his abilities and the cabin he built in the woods and I started to sympathise with his plight as I realised that we both had an isolated childhood. Eventually, I came to like him very genuinely as a person and considered him a great friend, someone I didn’t mind spending time with outside of a work setting. He’s as gentle and kind as he is big and gruff which is why I fell in love with him.


Heartwood isn’t just a biography and it isn’t just my work. Had I written it without becoming so intimately acquainted with Teo, it wouldn’t be the same book. In a way, even though he never touched pen to paper, it’s a shared creation. We shaped the biography together and it shaped us just the same. The person I was before Teo could never have written this book and the Teo I met for our first interview could never have been the subject of this version.

I’m still glad that I chose to return to Teo’s cabin after the first interview and I’m glad that it led to me being the person I am now—the writer of a decent, if somewhat biased biography, and a woman who loves Teo Como with all my heart.

Author’s note: Hi guys, and welcome to the final chapter of Heartwood. I know, I know, it’s very soon, but since it’s so short, I wanted it out of the way.  I imagine these are just excerpts from Lia’s famous, sappy afterword. I originally wanted to write it all, but first of all, I don’t think I could do it justice. Second, I have for a very long time felt like I was done with Heartwood. It’s not that I don’t love it or the characters. It’s more that I’m not the person I was when I started this story, and I don’t think I ever will be again. Most of you know by now that I went through a messy break-up (twice) and it took a mental toll that I don’t feel like I’ve completely recovered from yet. And even when I do recover, I’ll never be the Louise who started writing Heartwood in 2020. I love this story and what it ended up being, but I’m also ready to move on.

Thanks so much if you went on the journey through the story with me. I have many kind and thoughtful readers. Your comments always make me smile and they make me think about my own work. Even the likes thattick in when I post a new chapter are meaningful and have motivated me to keep going even when this story was hard to get through. I’ll be doing my usual reflections soon – writers gotta write (about their own writing) after all. But before I stop entirely, here are some wedding pics, since this chapter didn’t have many of them.

Wedding Venue

Wedding Guests

Teo’s family. From left to right: Teo’s mother, Clementina Como, his brother, Nevio Como, and his girlfriend Caterina Dioli.

Lia’s family. From left to right: Amadeo Calvacante and his husband Rinaldo Aiello. Lia’s mother, Georgette Desjardins with her husband, Bastien. Finally, Lia’s sister-in-law Regina Mancini-Cavalcante with Lia’s oldest brother, Vincente ‘Enzo’ Cavalcante.

And since I realised that I love Enzo and Gina with all my heart, have a close-up. These babes, I swear~

And finally, Teo’s distant cousin, Costanza Sartore, with her husband Lorenzo Sartore.


Since some wanted to see, here’s a closer look at the rings I made for Lia and Teo. I know, I know, normally you have separate rings for engagement/wedding, but uh, I wasn’t going to make another ring. So it became their wedding rings as well. 😊

I’m sorry that this ended up being a fairly low-effort last chapter. I know it’s clear I’m checked out at this point, but I can’t be entirely sorry. As much as I loved doing this – I’m ready for something different.

Now, I don’t entirely know what’s next. It’s either Clarity (gen 3) or it’s a palate cleanser that’s entirely different. You’ll know when I know what I want to do. For now, I’d like to add another thanks to everyone who stuck around this long. It’s been a shaky ride through what should have been an easy, simple side story, but it was still a joy to go through because of you guys. I hope everyone is doing well and I’ll see you all when it’s time for those reflections.

I love you all so very, very much,




Jowita · August 21, 2021 at 9:12 pm

I don’t understand how you can call this chapter ‘low effort with all these beautiful pictures and the obviously great amount of work and time you’ve put into building this venue and finding suitable CC for it! The fall colors are so beautiful and your love for this kind of color palette is clear just by looking at them!
What Lia wrote about Teo was very sweet and I sure can see how people say it’s their favorite part of her book. Some of us tend to be hopeless romantics 😛
It was great to see Enzo and Gina again! It’s been so long.
I can see why you’d feel so done with the story at this point, especially with what’s been going on in your private life. It must be a relief to finally get this done when it no longer fits into your idea of what you’d like to write now. But I’m happy we still got an ending to Lia’s story and that she eventually became a much more developed character, not just a bored sister of Enzo with no life of her own.
I’ve enjoyed your story greatly, Louise, thank you for sharing with us! <3

    NotJustaBook · August 21, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    He, he, I guess it just feels relatively low effort because I made the venue a good while ago and all I did was fix up a few things and dress wedding guests. Compared to Gina and Enzo’s wedding, I guess it’s low effort – but then everything is. That one was a nightmare. 😂😂 I’ve really enjoyed doing this colour palette and the cosy night time shoots with candles and tea – but I’m also ready for different colours and vibes. 😊
    I know that if I read a book and there was a cute last chapter about a romance I’d be all over it, so that’s what I based the idea for the afterword on. 😁😁
    Yeees, as soon as I dressed them (and Gina looked like a dream in that dress) I just realised how much I missed them.
    Yeah, I’m pretty checked up. I’ve been working on other things alongside this for a while and I’m so ready for something new. I’m glad I got to finish this story off – it’s kind of like completing a chapter of my own life, I guess. I enjoyed it, but also I’m so ready for something new!
    Thanks so much for reading, Jowita, and for all the insightful comments along the way. It’s a joy to have you reading along, always. 💕😊

audreyfld · August 21, 2021 at 9:27 pm

This was so sweet. I loved the way you needed it with excerpts from the book Lia wrote. ❤️ She looks so happy. And I’m sure it feels good to finish this fun and beautiful side story.

    NotJustaBook · August 21, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you, Audrey. 😊💕 I think Lia ended up very happy – much happier than she would have been if her life hadn’t changed like this.
    And yes – I’m so happy to finish off this story. I’m happy that Lia got to have a story of her own, but also I’m ready to move on.
    Thanks for being along for the ride. Your comments have been a highlight all the way through. 💕💕💕

Violincat · August 22, 2021 at 11:46 am

I loved the afterword. It was very heartfelt and the two of them really did change one another for the best. It makes perfect sense to finish their wedding with this afterword.

    NotJustaBook · August 22, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you Violincat, I’m glad you think so. They’ve really changed a lot together. 😊💕 Thanks so much for reading along!

Kymber · August 22, 2021 at 5:24 pm

I love this so much, I want to go back again and again and reabsorb it, let it sink in. The pics and venue are so perfect, along with Lia’s narrative. SIGH, and SWOON are what I’m thinking. Seems I’m thinking that a lot lately. lol I really can’t wait to see what is store next, Louise. xoxoxo I love you and your creativity so much, I just can’t even tell you in words. 🙂 ❤️

    NotJustaBook · August 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    💕💕💕 Thanks so much, Kymber. It means the world to get all these kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures and everything. I hope in the future, there will be much more sighing and swooning – I can’t wait to go on to my next adventure. 💕
    Love you, too, Kymber. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride and for being the sweet and lovely person that you are. 💕😊

Jes2G · August 22, 2021 at 5:35 pm

I think this was an appropriate ending, and I don’t feel short changed at all. Sure, you could continue and show us their life together, but we can all imagine how that would go. The adventure was getting them there, and now that they are here, the story is over. Well done! Thanks for sharing this with us. It was a great way for me to enjoy something of yours without having the history of an entire legacy to draw from. And I love that we got to see what was in that Afterword! Really nice touch! You deserve some time off lol. Go enjoy yourself and don’t come back until you’re fully rested. 😛

    NotJustaBook · August 22, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Thank you, Jess. 😊 I originally had a chapter with more narrative, but I didn’t really feel like it added anything – their story is just done now. Thanks so much for reading along! 💕 I’m glad that the things that were from the legacy weren’t off-putting. It was challenging to write this for people who didn’t go through all of gen 2 lol.
    Again, thanks. I’ll make sure to take some time off, though my fingers are also itching to start the next thing. Whatever that may be.
    Thanks for coming along and for all the lovely comments. 💕💕😊

freja64 · August 22, 2021 at 10:05 pm

Such a lovely autumn wedding, a suitable ending that makes me imagine lots of wonderful things happening to Lia and Teo in the future. Can’t wait to read what your itching fingers will write next!

    NotJustaBook · August 27, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you, Freja! 😊 I think they’ll be very happy in the future for sure. Thanks for reading along and for all your kind comments. 😊

Lila Remonn · August 29, 2021 at 6:38 am

Absolutely stunning wedding! The pictures are brimming with gentle warmth, golden light, and down-to-earth cosiness, which I think represents Lia and Teo’s brand of love so well. Lia is gorgeous in that dress, it’s elegant yet understated. And what a poetic way to ‘narrate’ the wedding and the penultimate chapter of a story which has chronicled the beginning to end of writing a biography. It was awesome to see the family again as well! 🍁

Heartwood was a really lovely story, and a surprisingly intimate character portrait that departed from the dramatic-scale pacing of the main legacy, it was a wonderful read. You wrote and visualised their journey so well 🧡 I’m excited for what’s coming next, the snapshots of Clarity that you’ve shown so far have got me intrigued!

    NotJustaBook · September 2, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Sorry for the late reply, Lila. I appreciate your comments so much. 💕
    Thanks so much for the kind words on the wedding pictures. I like to think about the absolute contrast between what Lia’s wedding ended up as and what it could have been if she stayed in her old life and it’s pretty big. I think you’re right, this fits them so well. 😊 Glad you liked the way of telling the last chapter. I used to have a proper version with narration and dialogue and eh – it didn’t say anything. I think this is the better solution.

    Thanks so much for reading along, Lila. I always enjoy the comments and your thoughtful analyses. 😊 I think it was a nice change of pace for sure. I’m excited to start a new journey as well – whatever that journey may entail. Thanks again. 💕

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